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Update on SNAP and the Farm Bill

The Senate is currently debating the 2012 Farm Bill, which reauthorizes agriculture, conservation and nutrition assistance programs for another five years. This is important because it could impact the future of the SNAP program, which helps to feed over 80,000 Nebraskan children. Yesterday, the Senate voted on four nutrition amendments—Senator Nelson’s amendment to strengthen SNAP was adopted, but an amendment to restore previous cuts did not pass. In addition, two harmful SNAP amendments were defeated in a bipartisan vote.

Senator Nelson’s amendment  will clarify how states can reinvest SNAP performance bonuses within the SNAP program, which can improve operations.

Unfortunately, Senator Gillibrand’s amendment did not pass. It would have restored the $4.5 billion cut to SNAP made in the Senate Farm Bill, and would have invested an additional $500 million in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack program for low-income children.

Two harmful amendemnets from Senator Sessions did not pass.  These amendments would have eliminated state incentives for improving SNAP performance and participation rates, and would have narrowed eligibility so 2 to 3 million low-income people would lose their current benefits.

Two amendment votes scheduled for today would significantly weaken SNAP’s ability to provide food to hungry kids. Senator Boozman’s Amendment would eliminate $48 million per year in improvement incentives, and Senator Johnson’s Motion to Recommit would split the Farm Bill into two separate bills. This would not change the substance of the legislation but would unnecessarily slow the progress of the Farm Bill.

Voices for Children is grateful to the senators who voted to support hungry kids and to all those who call  The USDA shows that 20% of children live in homes where they or a family member is affected by hunger.  The current recession has made it more difficult for parents to provide for their children’s basic needs, which is why it is so important to keep SNAP strong to ensure no child goes hungry.

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